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Rebecca Bennett
Rebecca Bennett
Date Published: 19 Nov 2020
Last Updated: 19 Nov 2020

Furlough scheme extension – what are the key points to note?

Employment Law Advice

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) otherwise known as the furlough scheme has been extended until March 2021.

The main points to note are as follows:-

  • From 1 November 2020 you can claim 80% of an employee’s usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month;
  • You will only need to pay employer NICs and pension contributions on the amount paid to the employee;
  • You can opt to top up employees wages, but this is optional;
  • The scheme applies to all employees with a UK bank account and PAYE scheme;
  • You can claim for any type of employee as long as they were employed on 30 October 2020 and an RTI submission was made to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020 notifying a payment of earnings for that employee;
  • You do not have to have previously used the scheme nor do employees have to have been previously furloughed;
  • You can re-employ and place on furlough employees who have been made redundant after 23 September 2020;
  • 30 November 2020 is the last day you can submit or change claims for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.

Eligibility

Employees on fixed term contracts

Fixed term employees can be re-employed and furloughed if their contract expired on or after 23 September 2020 as long as they meet the conditions (i.e. that they were employed by you on 23 September 2020 and you made an RTI submission between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020).

If the employee’s fixed term contract has not expired, it can be extended or renewed and you can place these employees on furlough as long as they were employed by you on or before 30 October 2020 and you made an RTI submission in respect of the employee.

Apprentices

Apprentices can be furloughed and can continue to train whilst furloughed. You will need to ensure that they are paid at least national minimum wage whilst training.

TUPE employees

For claim periods after 1 November 2020 a new employer is eligible to claim in respect of the employees of a previous business transferred if the TUPE and PAYE business succession rules apply to the change in ownership. The employees being claimed for should have been employed by their previous employer on or before 30 October 2020 and transferred from them to their new employer on or before 1 September 2020. An RTI submission must also have been made between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020.

Employees with more than one job:

An employee with more than one job can be furloughed in one job, but continue working for another employer and receive normal wages. If they have had multiple employers over the last year but the employee has only worked for one of them at any one time and is being furloughed by current employer, their formal employer should not re-employ them and put them on furlough.

Can employees who are clinically vulnerable or with caring responsibilities be furloughed?

Yes. Employees who are clinically vulnerable and those who have caring responsibilities as a result of Covid-19 can be furloughed. This includes employees with child care responsibilities. This is at the discretion of the employer.

You cannot claim under the scheme for employees who are on short-term sick leave. These employees may be able to receive statutory sick pay.

What about employees on maternity leave?

These employees can be furloughed and end maternity leave early. They will need to give at least 8 weeks’ notice of return to work and you cannot furlough them until the end of the 8 weeks.

If the employee receives maternity allowance, they should not receive furlough pay at the same time. The employee should take action to stop their maternity allowance.

You can claim through the scheme for enhanced contractual pay for maternity, adoption, paternity etc.

What are the rules on holiday pay?

Employees can take holiday whilst on furlough but they must be topped up to full pay for these hours.

Can an employee serve notice whilst on furlough?

You can make redundancies as long as they are in accordance with normal employment rules. In respect of claim periods for November, you can continue to claim for a furloughed employee who is serving notice however, employees must receive their full pay whilst serving notice. You cannot claim statutory redundancy payments.

The government has changed its approach in relation to notice for claims starting on or after 1 December 2020. The update states that you cannot claim for notice periods under the Scheme in relation to any days on or after 1 December during which the furloughed employee serves contractual or statutory notice. If an employee subsequently starts a notice period on a day covered by a previously submitted claim, you will need to make an adjustment.

If you intend to make furloughed employees redundant and use the scheme to recover part of the employees’ notice pay, we suggest that you make this decision as soon as possible.

Can you re-employ employees who have been made redundant?

Yes, if you have made an employee redundant or they stopped working for you on or after 23 September, you can re-employ them and place them on furlough. The employee must have been on the payroll on or before 23 September 2020 and an RTI submission must have been made between 20 March to 23 September 2020 in respect of that employee.

Do we need an agreement in place with an employee?

Yes. In the same way as before, you will need to ensure that an agreement is put in place and which includes details of whether the employee is on furlough (full time) or flexi-furlough. This must be a written agreement however there is no obligation for the employee to sign the agreement. Records must be kept for 6 years which include the following:

  • The amount claimed and the claim period for each employee;
  • The claim reference number for your records;
  • Your calculations in case HMRC need more information about your records; and/or
  • If it is a flexi-furlough arrangement, you must record the usual hours worked including calculations and the actual hours worked.

You should tell your employee that you have made a claim for them under the scheme and that they do not need to take any more action. You must pay to the employee the full amount that you are claiming for under the scheme.

If you would like any further guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme please contact our employment team on 01202 525333.

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Rebecca Bennett
Rebecca Bennett